Tourism and Agriculture; the two main sectors attracting FDI in Colombia

The numbers speak for themselves. Between January and August 2021, ProColombia supported the launch of five new projects in the tourism sector worth US$39 million in the provinces of Bolivar, Antioquia, Cundinamarca and Cauca. These initiatives are among the 33 projects supported by ProColombia since the government of President Iván Duque took office. These include leisure and business hotels, ecotourism, residences and theme parks. Total investment in this sector is estimated at US$481 million and, according to investors, will create around 4,100 jobs.

According to ProColombia calculations based on a report by Colliers International, more than 3,865 hotel rooms will be opened in Colombia this year. This is 80% more than in 2020 when only 2,140 rooms were opened. Hotel investment is supported by the return of air transport, since the country has seen international flights return to 60%.

“The country’s tourism industry continues to revive, grow and establish itself, opening up new business opportunities for travelers and investors. The Tourism Law and the Social Investment Law are key to our promotional efforts as they offer tax incentives that support the construction of new hotels and theme parks as well as their refurbishment As part of our strategy, we actively promote opportunities to attract investment into the sector through markets such as Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Spain, UK, France, USA, Mexico, Chile, and Costa Rica Our recovery is unstoppable,” said Flavia Santoro, President of ProColombia.

At the same time, the agricultural sector, one of the key players in Colombia’s economic recovery, is experiencing significant diversification with initiatives in precision agriculture, specialty coffee crops and the production of poultry, avocado hass, palm oil, processed foods and medical cannabis.

Colombia has many attractive qualities that may interest foreign investors. It has over 40 million hectares of fertile land (of which only 19% is currently in use), an abundance of water, and megadiverse landscapes with highly complex ecosystems that support almost every type of species.

According to the results generated by ProColombia, 19 projects valued at more than US$300 million were launched in Colombia between January and September 2021. This figure represents a 32% increase compared to the same period in 2020. Investors expect that approximately 11,800 new jobs will be created. be created with the implementation of projects in Antioquia, Caldas, Meta, Risaralda, Cundinamarca, Magdalena, Huila, Valle del Cauca and Bogota.

“With greater development of the country’s agricultural sector, we will generate more exports and more jobs, which in turn will boost the competitiveness of our rural areas. In collaboration with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, we continue our mission to attract sustainable and export-oriented investment,” added Flavia Santoro.

***Some of the new hotel projects

The Marriott chain recently opened the first Residence Inn brand hotel in Bogota after two years of construction. This block of 131 apartment-style rooms has brought in a total investment of over US$16 million.

The Sofitel Barú is also expected to be completed later this year or early 2022. This new 187-room hotel was built by French company Accor in Cartagena, and is their 20th hotel in Colombia. The total investment generated by this project was US$60 million.

Spanish chain Sirenis is also building a 254-room hotel in San Andres, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022.

In addition, the Ecuadorian company Metropolitan Touring has just announced that in collaboration with the multinational river cruise company AmaWaterways, it will develop a tourist cruise on the Magdalena River, whose operations will begin in December 2023.

Caribe Aventura, one of Colombia’s largest theme parks, is also being developed in Piojo, Atlantico. The park is one of many innovative infrastructure projects helping to boost tourism in the region. Its opening is scheduled for late 2021 or early 2022 and should generate more than 1,200 indirect jobs.

There are also other opportunities for investment in the establishment of centers specializing in the care of the elderly and offering services such as medical facilities, additional care and comfort and permanent or temporary residence. Companies like Acalis have already started doing this. With extensive experience in Europe and Chile, the company has now invested in Senior Living services in Medellin and Bogota.

***Some of the new agricultural projects

Several factors were decisive in convincing Brazilian company Solinftec to establish a technology operation to automate agricultural processes and monitor crops using software and artificial intelligence for Latin American clients in Valle del Cauca, notably the potential for the production of sugar cane, citrus fruits, grapes and cereals, as well as access to transport by air, sea and land.

With this precision farming solution, 250,000 hectares of farmland in Colombia and other markets like Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, Peru, Paraguay, Ecuador and Argentina can be monitored in real time. Solinftec’s technology processes a large amount of data (weather, input use, waste, harvested quantities, etc.) and, through the use of artificial intelligence, helps growers make important decisions in real time. , helping to increase productivity and reduce costs.

The multinational PepsiCo, one of the biggest buyers of potatoes in Colombia, is moving forward with the construction of a production plant in Guarne, Antioquia. This new infrastructure will increase the volume of supply to Colombian farmers by approximately 23,000 tonnes per year.

Over the past year, PepsiCo has invested over US$158 million in Colombia, primarily in the construction of this project. This generated around 700 jobs, with a female participation rate of 50%. Once operational, the facility will house approximately 400 workers and is expected to be completed in 2022.

The Ecuadorian Provefruit has also invested in the development of an avocado processing plant for export to the American market. According to company estimates, around 500 jobs have been created in Antioquia.

In addition, the American poultry and agricultural company Cargill recently opened the Caribbean Incubator in the Bolivar region, considered the most modern and innovative multinational plant in the world.

The plant has the capacity to produce 2.8 million hatching eggs, which represents 25% of Cargill’s total chick production in the country. According to the company’s projections, in the future it could produce 3.8 million eggs, supply chickens to the Colombian Caribbean and export to markets such as the United States, Europe and the Middle East. East.

According to FDI Markets reports, in the last five years, Colombia has been the fourth country with the highest number of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects for the agricultural sector in Latin America, after Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

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